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if their parents command them to do what is right and fit, they are no longer at liberty; they are obliged to obey. Much more when God commands them; the infinitely great and glorious God, the great Governor of the whole world, whose they are; their obligations to obedience now are in proportion to the dignity and authority of him who commands; i. e. they are "infinite. And they are so far from being left at liberty, that they are bound and obliged by all the authority of heaven to do what is enjoined. And there is no other way now by which they can proceed in a course of disobedience, but to lift up themselves above God, and set up their wills above his, and despise his authority, and bid defiance to his vindictive justice. And surely this is a terrible course for a worm of the dust to venture upon, who is every moment in the hands of God, and liable by his resistless power to be crushed to hell in an instant. Think of this, O young man; think of this, O young woman, and tremble to see what the frame of your heart has been; and hearken to the voice of God, and remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth!
5. Young people are under infinite obligations to remember now their Creator in the days of their youth, arising from the consideration of " the undertaking, death, and sufferings of JESUS CHRIST, the great Mediator, and of the tenders of pardon and eternal life, that are made to a guilty undone world through him."
Mankind had apostatized from God, forgotten him, lost a sense of his glory, and plunged themselves into a state of sin and misery, out of which they could by no means recover themselves. They lay in the open field, pulluted and perishing in their blood and guilt; without any eye to pity, or arm to save; self-ruined, self-destroyed! And when this was the case, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. He set him forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sin, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which, believeth in Jesus." And now God is in and through him reconciling the world to himself. All are invited
and called upon and commanded to repent and be converted, to change their minds, and turn to the Lord, and give up themselves to God through Jesus Christ. God is reconcileable, and is using means actually to reconcile the world to himself. And this being the case, we are all under new obligations to bethink ourselves, and remember God, whom we have forgotten and forsaken, and return and give up ourselves to him through Jesus Christ. Now for young people, after all this, to remain unmindful of God, and go on in the ways of vanity and sin, is aggravatedly vile. They despise the kindness and love of God our Saviour, and show themselves obstinate, in their aversion to him. They cast contempt upon the dying love of Christ, tread under foot his blood, and undervalue and slight all his grace. This is to be in a dreadful degree evil and unthankful.
6. They are under great obligations to early piety, arising from their having been, in their infancy, dedicated to God in baptism.
Baptism is not the instituted means of regeneration, as some pretend; nor do we see any such effect usually following upon it. But baptism signifies our engagement to be the Lord's, and lays us under obligations to be his. Young people, your parents, when they made a profession of religion, gave themselves and all they had, or ever should have, to the Lord so that you were virtually given to God before you were born. And as soon as you were born, they brought you in their arms, and presented you before God and his people, and by their practice implicitly said, "whereas heretofore, when we made a profession of religion, we gave our selves and all we had, or ever should have, to the Lord; and whereas God has now given us this child, we now come and present ourselves and our child before God and his people, that we may dedicate it to God in baptism, according to divine appointment: and we do hereby lay our child under the strongest bonds we can to the Lord, and enter into covenant to bring it up in his fear: we put our child also under the care and watch of the church, that they may stand engaged for its good education. And all this to the intent our child may be preserved from the ways of vanity and sin, and
be trained up for God." And hereupon in solemn prayer the case was spread before the Lord, and then you was bap→ tised in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: and so consecrated to the living God.
Remember the solemn season, O parents, when you did thus dedicate your children to the Lord. And know it, the vows of God are upon you, and see to it you be faithful.Their blood will be required at your hands, if they perish through your neglect: and God will treat you as covenant-. breakers. Have you told them how you gave them to the Lord; and what obligations they are under to be his? Have you often taken them alone, and with tears, tenderness, and love, laboured to impress the great things of God and religion upon their hearts? Have you taught them to pray in secret, to seek God while they are young; and by pious counsels and good examples, been labouring every day to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? Remember, this is your duty, and thus did you covenant and promise to do, before God, angels, and men !
And to this church of Christ, suffer me also just to say, all baptised persons are under your watch and care; and you stand bound in the sight of God for their good education. You are Christ's professed friends, and are the Lord's visible family in this place; and therefore all the children are put under your care, that they may be brought up for God. If parents be not faithful, it belongs to you to call them to an account. If children run in riot, it is your business to do all that in you lies to reform them. Christ has betrusted this with you, and expects your fidelity. Let me therefore beseech you, for Christ's sake, for your own sakes, and for the sake of the rising generation, that with one heart, and with one soul, you would exert yourselves to the utmost, to encourage and promote good family government, and the pious education of children. If any church neglects their duty in this matter, it will bring much guilt upon them, as covenantbreakers; and the blood of perishing souls will be required at their hands.
But to return. See here, O young people, the goodness of Christ, the great head of the church, in making such provision
for your spiritual welfare, as soon as you were born. By his appointment you were brought into his visible family, there to be trained up for eternal glory. See here also the good will of your parents; they gave you to the Lord, and entered into covenant to bring you up in his fear, and laid you under the strongest bonds they could to be the Lord's. And what now is your proper duty? And what ought to be the temper of your minds? "I thank the God of heaven, (should every one of you be ready to say,) I thank the great Redeemer, for this merciful and gracious constitution. And I thank my parents for what they have done. I approve of it with all my heart; I consent to it; I rejoice in it; I would be the Lord's: I will ratify and confirm that covenant; I will give myself to God, and join myself to his people, and bid a final adieu to my vain and sinful companions, and to all the ways of vanity and sin. I will avouch the Lord Jehovah to be my sovereign Lord and supreme good, through Jesus Christ; and give up myself to his service, to walk in all his ways, and keep all his commands, seeking his glory." This, O young people, is your duty, and this ought to be the temper of your minds; and this ought ye to do!
You cannot now therefore go on unmindful of God, in vanity and sin, at an easy aud cheap rate. You cannot do it without treading under foot the goodness of Christ, and the good-will of your parents, and breaking your baptismal covenant. You cannot do it without practically forsaking the family of Christ, and the people of God, and joining yourselves to the family of satan. And if you do so, verily, as St. Paul said in a like case, your circumcision is made uncircumcision: you renounce your baptisin, and practically turn apostates: and will be treated as such, in that great day when Christ shall come to judge the world.
7. Young people are under special obligations to early piety, because youth is the time when persons usually have most of the strivings of God's holy Spirit.
It has been commonly observed by those that have had much to do with souls, that mankind have usually more of the strivings of the spirit, when they are young, than after they are grown old in years and old in sin. And it is no wonder,
if persons when they are young grieve the holy Spirit time after time, that they are gradually very much left and forsaken of God, and suffered to go on unmolested in their way to ruin; in after years, perhaps there are very few young people, but what are now and then met with, stopped in their career of vanity and sin, and brought to some serious thoughts of the state of their souls, and of their way of living, and to think what is like to be their end.
And this, O young people, 1 doubt not, has been the case with one and another of you, time after time. You have been awakened to some sense of your guilt and danger, and to serious thoughts of another world. At such times you have gone alone, and sat down solitary, and been ready to say, "alas, what a wretch I am! What a dreadful life do I live! What a dreadful state am I in! And what will be my end!" At such seasons you think of your sins and vain courses, with a heavy heart you think of your frolics and merry-meetings with regret; and are ready to say, "I shall certainly perish at last, if I go on in this way." Perhaps you have sometimes terrible apprehensions of death and judgment; and imagine how you will feel, when the Judge shall say, Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. It may be, you sometimes with fear and trembling think of the lake of fire and brimstone, of the wrath of a provoked God, of the anguish of a condemning conscience, of the eternity of hell torments, and the dreadfulness of the misery and despair of the damned: and are ready to say, "I am a fool to live as I do, I am distracted to go on any further; I will never do any more as I have done.” And here you reckon up your beloved ways of sin, and form resolutions to leave them. "Farewell to my vain frolics, and farewell to my vain companions: I will now begin to be serious, and have done with my light, airy, unprofitable way of living; and for time to come, I will be constant in secret prayer; those leisure hours I used to spend abroad among vain companions, I will devote to reading the bible, and good books, to meditation, and prayer." And thus you reflect, and thus you mourn, and thus you resolve upon a new